August 30, 2012

KO Digest Previews Sergio Martinez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr

The Bizarro World of Boxing
You almost had me fooled Julio. Like father like son I thought.

But when I saw your big mug on TMZ last January it hit me like one of your liver shots. In a moment of clarity, I realized just how related you really are to your cerveza loving father. It's not just boxing that runs in the Chavez family. Apparently, so does boozing.

Sorry Julio. Great fighters named Chavez don't get arrested two weeks before "championship" fights for driving under the influence. They call a Tijuana taxi driver or they don't drink at all during training.

That little L.A. episode in your Land Rover sobered me right up about you while you copped a plea and barely missed a beat on your way to a fight that even Bob Arum - your promoter - has admitted you were "ducking" until the two of you felt you were more ready.

Well folks, ready or not - the battle many boxing insiders said would never happen is finally scheduled to take place on September 15th - Mexican Independence Day in Las Vegas! That's right fight fans, it's Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing versus Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions for the heavily disputed ... vacant ... interim ... moneyweight championship of North and South America!

Boxing titles just aren't what they used to be you see.

On the undercard of Oscar versus Arum it's Sergio Maravilla Martinez (49-2-2 w/ 28KOs) vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (46-0-1 w/ 32KOs) for the middleweight championship of the world. Here we have a fight pitting the REAL world middleweight champion against a fighter dressing up as the middleweight champion complete with a green WBC title belt stripped straight out of champion Sergio Martinez's closet. When all is said and done, it will be regrettably clear to boxing's fickle fans that they were actually right about Julio Cesar Chavez Jr before they were wrong about him.

Before they were fooled into thinking he was something they knew he wasn't.

Before wins over Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee convinced them that maybe there was something to this Chavez kid.

Before the preposterous notion that he could beat Sergio Martinez became a plausible one.

Before boxing fans did a heavyweight flip flop on the credibility of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Middleweight "champion" of the WBC
If that sounds like politics as usual in the bizarro world of WBC boxing where champions are challengers and challengers are champions - here is something you can believe in: Chavez Jr is exactly what his critics always said he was - an undisciplined, well protected hype job living off his famous father's name and wearing a championship belt that he most certainly didn't earn in the ring against the actual World Middleweight Champion.

That in a tortilla shell is what this fight is all about.

Is Chavez Jr for real or is he a fraud?

Is he a champion, a contender, or just a mere pretender?

Make no mistake, Chavez Jr actually has improved as a fighter since the days not long ago when he was considered by many to be a laughing stock. Yet his two best chances to win against Martinez still involve circumstances largely out of his control. The first is the possibility that at 37 years of age, Martinez gets old overnight and becomes easy prey for an undefeated 26 year old light heavyweight named Chavez. Could it happen? Sure. Will it? Probably not.

The other more likely probability involves WBC President José Sulaimán and his curious ability to see to it that Mexican fighters named "Julio Cesar Chavez" get every break imaginable. Sulaimán got Chavez Sr out of quite a few ring jams back in the day and if he somehow gets Chavez Jr out of the one he currently finds himself in against an Argentinian wrecking ball named Martinez, nobody would be terribly surprised. Chavez and WBC chicanery go hand in hand. Just ask Pernell Whitaker. Or Frankie Randall. Or Carlos Molina.

In the ring, there is really nothing that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr does better than Sergio Martinez, except perhaps take a punch and carry weight. Jr's other advantages include youth, freakish size, and trainer Freddie Roach. Chavez Jr is also a proud and extremely confident fighter with a reliable chin. These machismo qualities will ultimately prove to be his undoing against a single-minded sharpshooter like Sergio Maravilla Martinez.

On September 15th, Chavez Jr will be befuddled early and often by the quicker and more athletic Martinez. Try as Chavez Jr might to impose his size and power, the upwardly mobile southpaw Martinez will have none of it. Maravilla keeps the fight at a safe distance early while picking apart his more inexperienced challenger; patiently waiting for Chavez Jr to tire before shifting into high gear. When Martinez does kick the festivities into overdrive, Chavez Jr will be beaten from pillar to post by a fighter who promises to abuse him so badly that his own Padre will need a DNA test to identify him. That's fighting irony right there.

Paradoxically, it will be the very "performance enhancing" DNA running through the ice cold veins of Chavez Jr which prevents this fight from ending early like Marvis Frazier's pitiful challenge of Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes almost 30 years ago. Still the result will ultimately be the same - a mismatch featuring a man against a boy and a very disappointed Dad who should have known better.

The REAL Julio César Chávez will learn the same painful lesson that Larry Holmes taught Joe Frazier all those years ago. That is to say - with arsenals consisting of little more than intimidating last names and a desire to impress their fathers, the sons of Hall of Fame boxing legends don't tend to beat great fighters like Holmes or Martinez.

Winner and still World Champion - and new WBC champion!

THE FIGHT: Knowing all too well that he needs a knockout to win - and to avoid getting jobbed by No Way Jose - Sergio Martinez delivers yet another truly championship performance, violently stopping Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in the 9th round with a barrage of unanswered shots that come after Chavez Jr is knocked down and seriously hurt for the first time in his career.

The Lion Cub of Culiacán will feel positively punch drunk after the Undisputed Middleweight King is finished intoxicating him with the most potent offense in boxing. Whether Julio Cesar Chavez Jr ever fully recovers from his meeting with Maravilla remains to be seen.